27 September 2009

EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival got kicked off Friday, September 25, and we had planned to meet my brother, Jon, his wife, Tara, and our niece, Grace, for an evening of food and wine Saturday night after swimming. My nephew Jack got left with his grandparents to give Grace a chance to stay for Illuminations (fireworks).

We parked at Disney's Boardwalk and met up with everybody for the boat ride over to EPCOT. Entering near the Great Britain pavilion, a Bass Ale fueled my walk to Future World as I had promised Grace that the first thing we would do is ride the "dragon ride", which is what she calls Imagination, and Spaceship Earth. On our way forward to the rides, we saw Cork, Ireland; Wellington, New Zealand and Montreal Canada. After riding both rides which have been updated since I last rode them years ago, we headed straight back to the Canada Pavilion.

As we passed the Festival Gift Shop on our way back to Canada, I noticed that someone was signing Festival Posters and assumed that it was the artist. Knowing that I would by a poster before the festival ended, I though might as well meet the artist and get it signed. While everyone went on to get in line for food, I bought a poster. I met Tim Rogerson and talked to him about what I liked about his poster and his other art displayed there. My favorite piece was one that he called "The Bartender" which it turns out was inspired at Blue Martini in the Mall at Millenia. I got my poster signed after a short wait and learned that he will be the artist for next year's Festival poster, too.

At Montreal, Canada, we enjoyed the number one selling item at the festival, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. We also tried some Maple Glazed Salmon with Lentil Salad, Spicy Chicken Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and Maple Sugar Candy. We then began our clockwise "crawl" around the World Showcase. We passed many countries and marketplaces looking at menus and offerings. We enjoyed Beef Empanadas with Tomato Salsa from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mickey really wanted the Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese plate in Barcelona, Spain, but I said the line was to long and he had some in Barcelona. He did not like that answer but we will surely get some next visit.

Grace spent time walking and holding everyone's hand. We looked in some stores and watched as the sky and clouds darkened. By the time we got to Germany, we had felt a sprinkle or two of rain. Munich, Germany rewarded us with a Paulaner Oktoberfest and Nuernberger Sausage on a Pretzel Roll. While enjoying my Oktoberfest, I promised myself that on the next visit I would start in New Orleans, USA for the food offerings and the Abita beer pairing. I also gave a knowing glance to the Sam Adams Beer School off in the distance.

Tokyo, Japan was when the trouble started. When we arrived at Japan, they had one Spicy Tuna Roll left, which Ana claimed. I tried to switch to a Tuna Sensation but those too were all out. I tried to negotiate a deal but was rebuffed. Mickey and Shannon each had a California Sushi Roll. I was annoyed not only that they would run out of food on a Saturday night, but that the manager would explain it away so carelessly. I watched my family enjoy their sushi while I finished my Oktoberfest.

We got to the Great Britain pavilion to grab a couple rugby balls we wanted known as the Adidas Torpedo and mini torpedo. While we walked to setup for a place to watch Illuminations, the rain picked up a bit. As the ten minute countdown to the fireworks began the rain picked up a lot and we were looking for cover. Under a tree quickly became not enough cover so back into the sports store. The deluge began in earnest and Grace became inconsolable because she would not see Illuminations and blow out the torches to start the show. We ran for the boat in a "Forrest Gump with Bubba in Vietnam" downpour of rain. Luckily my kids are swimmers so when we got to the truck, we had towels.

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